Surprising new benefits
Researchers are now studying butterflies that have the darkest color of wings than any object created by humans. These butterflies’ wings are 10 to 100 times darker than the objects found in our unnatural world. The blackest coatings we have made are used to help solar panels to absorb more energy for us to use.
These butterflies’ wings have less than 0.6% light that reflects back to the eye. This is close to the blackest coatings we have made for solar panels, but nothing quite matches up to the synthetic version. However, the butterflies in this study come very close. To study these butterflies, the researchers use 3D laser scanners and computer simulations to study the scales of the blackest and lightest butterflies to understand how they achieve their color.
These findings on how the butterflies absorb and bounce light back to use may help engineers in the future to design thinner ultra-black coatings without weighing objects down.
The benefits of learning from butterflies
Learning how to create surprising ways for humans to use and benefit from the ultra-black material. There could be new military camouflage uniforms for night time use, without it being super heavy material. They would be able to have a full range of motion while staying hidden. There could be new ways to get darker solar panels that will create more energy. With the help of 3D laser scanners, researchers will find new ways to develop better ultra-black material for consumers to use.
What 3D laser scanning is
3D laser scanners take thousands of pictures of a particular object and can collect the most microscopic detail on the item. They collect information like texture, shape, size, width, and everything in between. They can zoom in and out, allowing a specific person to thoroughly analyze whatever has been scanned.
This technology was created in the 1960s but didn’t gain adoption until later on in the 1990s, since then it has developed from giant cameras to handheld devices that provide a noninvasive way to gather information. It is easy to use and budget-friendly compared to other technologies on the market.
3D laser scanners have been adopted throughout many fields. And because of that, consumers are always finding new uses for this technology. Police officers and forensic investigators are now using this technology to gather information at crime scenes to use in court. Students are using this technology as a study aid. Architects are using 3D laser scanners to help rebuild famous monuments without destroying their infrastructure. Doctors are using it to take full-body scans noninvasively, finding problems before they become serious issues.
Entire companies are focused on creating the best edition of 3D laser scanners, creating a super competitive market. By 2025 this technology will grow to be worth a few billion on the market, and it’s all because it is being adopted so quickly for various fields. Without a doubt, this will be one of the most useful tools for every consumer to use.